We are all, at some point or another, denying or ignoring sensation.
Some of this is completely necessary. Ignoring a sound to focus on another. Or, ignoring a minor discomfort in order to complete a movement come to mind. There are, however, sensations we ignore at our own detriment. Such as — actual pain, sensory input from our skin, alignment cues from our spine, and respiratory or neurological cues. We often ignore the body as if we can function without it. Here’s the thing, no matter what our reality — no matter what deficits real or imagined — this body is our ride.
At the moment, I am seeing clients who are commenting about the sensory deprivation of isolation. It is true that confinement focuses your awareness in different ways. It makes you focus on the absence of things. Still, some of this deprivation isn’t a side-effect of the pandemic. I think we are just observing our societal habits in isolation. I also think that this is an opportunity to fully embody not just your voice, but your intention towards your world.
If disruption creates the opportunity for change, then we are in the midst of grand opportunity.
Giant changes aren’t really required, though. It is enough to invite more sensation into your experience. To that end, here is an exercise for waking up speech sensation (adapted from A Practical Introduction to Phonetics by J.C. Catford):
Take in a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Then inhale through your mouth and exhale through your nose. Observe how easy or hard this is and how the sensation differences from one direction to the other. Next, inhale a deep breath through your nose and exhale a sustained /f/ sound. Observe how you form an /f/ and what it feels like to exhale just that sound. Now, form the /f/ and inhale through your mouth. What is the same and what is different? Go back and forth between exhaling /f/ and inhaling /f/. Observe the sensation.
On Fridays at 12 pm EDT, for the foreseeable future, Gina will host an office hour over Zoom that will also be live on FB. These will be short voice alignment sessions aimed at voice skills building. Come to the Zoom for the session and/or to ask any questions you have about voice function or practice or just join me over FB Live. Register here or watch it live on the GROW Voice FB page. I hope to see you there.
Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.